Shipbreaking #10, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Edward Burtynsky (Canadian, b. 1955)
MediumC-print on fuji crystal archive paper
DimensionsImage : 18 x 20 in. (45.72 x 50.8 cm)
Sheet : 27 x 31 in. (68.58 x 78.74 cm)
Frame : 30 x 40 in. (76.2 cm x 1 m)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelThe son of a factory worker, Edward Burtynsky has spent much of his life as an artist exploring the impact of industry on the natural environment. This haunting image belongs to a series of photographs Burtynsky took in Bangladesh, where he documented the often-dangerous work of disassembling de-commissioned container ships. Using rudimentary tools and little safety gear, the people of Bangladeshi coastal towns like Chittagong break down huge ocean-going vessels into their constituent materials that are then recycled, burned or discarded in nearby landfills. While recycling used materials is generally positive, many older ships contain large quantities of asbestos, lead paint and other toxic substances that may persist and cause harm to the environment for decades or even centuries after the ships are dismantled.